Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Blue Eyed White Genetics

Since I just had a litter of BEW Woolies, I thought I'd blog about the genetics of the BEW, or Vienna, gene. First, let's start with the basics.

VV - Non-vienna carrier, or in other words an ordinary rabbit. Will not be able to throw Blue Eyed White babies.

Vv - A vienna carrier, also known as a 'VC' or a vienna marked, 'VM'. VC's show no signs of carrying the vienna gene and can still be shown. VM's sport tell-tale signs of carrying the gene, wether that be blue eyes on a normal colored rabbit, or white splashes on a normal colored coat. They are sometimes referred to as 'sports'. Both of these will throw BEW when bred to another 'Vv' or a 'vv'.

vv - A Blue Eyed White Rabbit.

Here are the different kinds of combos you can do with those three different versions of the gene.

VV x VV = 100% VV
VV x Vv = 50% VV, 50% Vv
VV x vv = 100% Vv
Vv x Vv = 25% VV, 50% Vv, 25% vv
Vv x vv = 50% Vv, 50% vv
vv x vv = 100% vv

When I first started my BEW breeding project, I got a BEW buck (vv) and a Blue Doe (VV). The resulting litter consisted of 4 Black Otters, all of them Vienna Carriers (Vv).

I then retained a Black Otter doe (Silent Spring's Jinger) and upon reaching breeding age she was bred back to her BEW sire. That would be a Vv x vv breeding. The expected outcome would have been 50% BEW and 50% VC/VM offspring. The actual litter was three BEWs and one Black VC. Luck was on my side that time! But each one is the luck of the dice, I could repeat the breeding and end up with an all BEW litter, or a litter of just VC/VM's.

The next step in my breeding program would be to keep a BEW baby and repeat the whole process over again. I know, it's a very slow process! That's why someone who breeds BEWs needs to know what they're doing or if they're planning on breeding them on a larger scale, be prepared to have lots of extra holes for unshowable Vv offspring.

- Michael

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